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High School Music Theory

Class Time: 1 hour

Project length: 3 days

In groups of 2-4, students will arrange a “rock band” cover for a folk song in
another language using keyboard, guitar, drums and vocals.

 Instruments
o Keyboard
o Guitar
o Bass (optional)
o Drum-set (optional)
 Technology
o iPad/laptop
 PowerPoint presentation on project

Activity (Day 1):

 Bell Work:
o Students will a complete a worksheet in which they will assign chords to
simple melodies given the clef and key
 Teacher will go over example of folk song and review how to assign chords
 Teacher will prompt students for previous knowledge of chord progressions and
assist where needed
 Teacher will show PowerPoint Presentation on project
 Students will break into groups
 Students will begin researching and selecting a folk song in another language
o Students will research the following on their folk song
 History
 Geographical location of origin
 Cultural significance
 Time period of origin
 Proper pronunciation of words
 Students will decide the following by the end of the class period
o Folk song
o Instrument assignment
 Students will finish the following by the end of class
o Establishing a chord progression for their folk song
 Exit Ticket:
o Students will submit their folk song with their decided chord progression
for teacher to check accuracy and/or suggest alternative chord
Activity (Day 2):
 Bell Work:
o Groups will meet with the teacher for 1 minute each to either change their
corrected chord progressions or defend their choice
 Students will break into their group to begin arranging their song
 Teacher will walk around the room to assist and guide as necessary
 Students will have the following accomplished by the end of the class period:
o Arrangement of their cover song
o Miscellaneous notes for performance the next day (what to wear, who is
presenting material, who starts the song, etc.)
 Exit Ticket:
o Students will journal their experiences with this project and a “before
performance” assessment.

Activity (Day 3):

 Bell Work:
o Each group will draw a number from a hat to decide performance order
and then assemble their group for performance
 Each group will go through the following sequence when it is their turn
o Information about their song
 Title and composer/author if applicable
 History of song
 Origin
 Language
o Performance of their song
 Exit Ticket:
o Students will journal their experience “after performance” and grade
themselves against the rubric individually
4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
Arrangement Arrangement Arrangement Arrangement Arrangement
was thorough was thorough was missing was not
with correct with 1-2 chords pieces and 3-4 completed and
chord incorrectly chords more than 4
progression assigned incorrectly chords were
assignments assigned incorrectly
Performance Student was Student was Student did not
present and present but did show up for
participating for not participate performance
the for the
performance performance
History History History was History was History was
included the missing 1 of missing 2 of missing 3 or
following: title, the following: the following: more of the
composer (if title, composer title, composer following: title,
applicable), (if applicable), (if applicable), composer (if
origin of song, origin of song, origin of song, applicable),
translation of translation of translation of origin of song,
text text text translation of
Journal/Rubric Student did a Student Student Student did not
journal both missed one of missed two of submit either
days and the following: the following: journal and did
graded journal both journal both not grade
themselves on days and days and themselves
the rubric graded graded against the
themselves on themselves on rubric
the rubric the rubric
Teamwork Student Student did not Student did not
contributed contribute contribute
during during during
presentation presentation or presentation
and played an did not play an and did not
approved approved play an
instrument for instrument for approved
the performance instrument for
performance performance
Student Spotlight:

Miguel is a high school student with a passion for music. He can always be found
listening to music or experimenting on various instruments. However, Miguel is an ELL
student from Mexico and is slightly behind his peers in speaking, writing and reading
English making it hard for him to keep up in Music Theory.

This assignment is perfect for Miguel! This project relies on songs in another language
so he can pick his home language. It’s a also a cover song so he can experiment on his
instrument of choice to decide on a chord progression. His peers will be able to help
him bridge the gap from what sounds good to his ears and what to write on paper.

Response Questions:

How would your students gain and appreciate perspective from different cultures and/or
 Not only do they have to perform a song that’s based out of another culture, they
will also have to research its history. Pairing these two together will give my
students a greater understanding for a cultures viewpoints and values.

How would you position learning opportunities so that students could

interact/communicate with others from different cultures/perspectives?
 I would make sure that my ELL learners were in groups of students that had a
strong understand of music theory so that they can help each other bridge the
gap of language and music.

Strategies and Rationale for Use of Lesson:

 Group work
 Self assessment
 Research
 Think-pair-share
 Bridging culture and music